What is the magic of cinema without its magicians? – The Maine campus
Visual aesthetics have always been a valid element to consider when reviewing films. If the visuals look silly and unrealistic, the whole movie could get off-putting, no matter how good the story. We have entered a stage of cinema where mostly computer generated imagery (CGI) creates special effects. This allows artists to use software to produce effects on film that cannot be created by hand, whether creating an explosion in an action sequence or animating a talking blue hedgehog. which can work very quickly. Although CGI is so widely used, it is expensive and requires a team of artists to grind to the conclusion of the film.
The first film to combine CGI and live-action capabilities was 1973’s “Westworld.” Over time, CGI has improved tremendously and expanded the space in which impossible stories can now be told. With the mix of practical effects, props and handmade sets, films such as “Star Wars: A New Hope” (1977) and “Tron” (1982) came to life. But artists really began to grasp the power of CGI in the late 90s and 2000s. Audiences could step into the digitized world of “The Matrix” (1999). We could travel to distant worlds in “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2002). Then CGI had the ability to build a world from the ground up and turn human beings into realistic aliens with “Avatar” (2009). Since then, the power of CGI has remained a compelling spectacle that has allowed audiences to be completely immersed in the world they are looking at.
Recently, fans and critics are starting to point out that the quality of CGI in movies is decreasing. If CGI craftsmanship is inherently improving, why is there now a decline in visual aesthetics? Create a product that can be consumed by millions of people on a strict deadline can be stressful.
Socially, there has been a recent initiative for people, including businesses, to integrate mental health more consideration. From experience, I can attest that when you’re stressed, you can’t produce your best work. There’s been an outpouring of support recently for artists working on these big-budget blockbuster films under strict deadlines while struggling to make ends meet.
Dhruv Govil, a 3D artist who worked on multiple Marvel Studios films such as “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Spiderman: Homecoming”, tweeted a message on July 10, 2022 which generated a lot of discussion.
“Working on #Marvel shows is what made me quit the visual effects industry. He’s a horrible client, and I’ve seen far too many colleagues crumble from being overworked, while Marvel tightens the purse strings,” Govil tweeted.
If Marvel can ignore the mental health of its employees, one can imagine how other studios treat their artists.
Creating a movie is expensive, and on top of that, creating special effects for a movie is where most of the budget tends to go. According This answer, CGI could cost as much as $34 million to $79 million to post-produce a movie, which equates to $570,000 spent per minute. For such an expensive task, one would expect the finished product to be visually appealing. If there’s so much money poured into a movie or show, why do performers complain about being underpaid and overworked?
Govil says in a separate tweet that artists working behind the scenes of these big films get paid less than 1% of any actor’s salary. VFX artists deserve more credit in the industry, especially when faced with impossible tasks with strict deadlines. With these big studios worth millions, there should be no question of increasing the remuneration of these artists who are essential to the success of a film.
Because of Govil, Marvel Studios culture is now put under a microscope as artists expose the toxic work environment. Fans are starting to make the connection between poor artist treatment and poor CGI quality. Creating visual effects takes time, and if artists are in a rush, the end result won’t look completely finished. Marvel’s Latest Additions To Their Cinematic Universe Have Disappointed Fans for special effects in their new movies and TV shows.
Marvel just released “Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” followed by “Thor: Love and Thunder”. “Mrs. Marvel” and “She-Hulk: Lawyer”. There have been times in each of these productions where audience members can point out the cringe-worthy CGI moments that can make the viewing experience awkward.
These awkward on-screen instances are known as the weird valley, which is when the brain can decipher what is actually real and what is trying to be real. The computer-generated images in the Strange Valley usually elicit feelings of disgust and unease. We’ve seen Marvel create masterpieces like “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.” They’ve produced many CGI-dependent films such as ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, ‘Ant-Man’ and ‘Dr. Strange’, and have been praised for their effects. It’s disappointing to see Marvel backing down, just to be able to release more and more content.
Instant fan gratification has become the answer for many studios looking to retain their audiences subscribed to their platform. In the spirit of the studio, quantity takes precedence over quality. That’s how Marvel has operated over the past year releasing content back to back. This strategy does not work, but despite this, they just released their line up for the next two years. Because of this eagerness, I believe their content suffers.
There’s a history of studios bending to cater to fan satisfaction, which inherently creates more stress for their workers. For example, when “Sonic the Hedgehog” (2020) was first released with a trailer, audiences revolted in horror at the design of the beloved character. People were used to seeing the character with more cartoon-like features. Although Paramount was aiming for a more realistic take on Sonic, the attempt didn’t sit well with fans. They did not expect the beloved character of Sonic to sport human-like teeth, defined muscles and long legs. Ultimately, due to negative character design reviews, the studio decided to remake the film entirely, giving Sonic a new look. Marvel tends to do this as well, fixing visual effects while a movie is still in progress. in theaters, or even when streaming on Disney+. Marvel is even guilty of not having informed its artists when there is a deadline change in the case of the release of the movie “Avengers: Infinity War” date being brought forward.
There’s been a meme circulating on social media that contemplates the difference between computer effects in the early 2000s and what the effects look like today. When used in the right way, CGI has the ability to create new worlds that feel realistic and sometimes magical. It can create the most fascinating or scariest characters monsters. It went far beyond the capabilities of what practical effects used to create. The fact that films released over a decade ago have CGI that still hasn’t aged really shows how much care and attention to detail can keep a film timeless. Films such as “Avatar”, “The Pirates of the Caribbean” and “The Matrix” presented audiences with a unique viewing experience. They remain stellar examples of what good CGI looks like. But these films were well thought out, planned and in no rush to release. When releasing a film or series, criticism should not focus on the visual effects but rather the story they support.
Artists truly deserve better working conditions. I believe now is the right time for them to unionize and fight for decent pay and better working hours. If you look at the credits of a movie or a show, there are so many people who contributed to it. Without these people working behind the scenes, no matter how well an actor performs, there’s no magic to sustain them. What’s a magic show without magic?